Okwe Obi, Abuja
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, on Tuesday, admitted the Federal Government’s inability to manage farm implements especially tractors due to the lack of maintenance culture and the inexperienced of operators.
This was even as he appealed to investors to invest in the hiring of tractors to enable the country meets its food demands.
Ogbeh said this when he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NAMEL, Tractors Owners Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) and Tractors Owners and Hiring Facilities Association of Nigeria (TOHFAN) to facilitate agricultural mechanisation, in Abuja.
His words: “Government cannot manage tractors. I speak from experience as a farmer for so many years.
“And I am aware that government continue buying of large numbers of tractors and distributes to local governments is not helping.
“Tractors are meant to last for at least 15 years. Here the average lifespan of a tractor is about two years and a half because operators are not trained and they go to places they shouldn’t go to.”
The Minister, however, said the MoU “is one of best and greatest innovations in agriculture and promises government’s determination to do everything possible to see the programme sees the light of the day.”
Ogbeh appealed to TOOAN, NAMEL and TOHFAN to purchase high quality tractors and lease them at an affordable rate because government would monitor the process.
National President of TOOAN, Engr. Elesa Bitrus, noted that “the selection of the equipment and further introduction of modern farming technologies to increase yield is a strong motivator to embrace the program.”